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Retro Scans: 1988 Growing Pains Wax Pack by Topps

Growing up in the late 80s, I was too young for the TV program Growing Pains.  I was barely one when it debuted in 1985 and only eight when it went off the air in 1992.   I was too young to watch when it aired, and later on, if I caught a rerun I was probably too little to understand most of the jokes.  

Somehow, though, I always knew it was safe and comforting television.  

Growing Pains was a sitcom produced by Neal Marlens (The Wonder Years) that aired on ABC from 1985 to 1992.  The series followed the fictional Seaver family living in Huntington, Long Island, New York.  Dr. Jason Seaver (Alan Thicke) was a psychiatrist working from home while his wife, Maggie, was a news reporter.  Their children are Mike (Kirk Cameron), Carol (Tracey Gold), and Ben (Jeremy Miller).  Later, a young Leonardo DiCaprio joined the series as Luke Brower, a student in Mike's class.

When I was younger, I spent much of my time watching the channels that aired syndicated sitcoms, like WGN, WPIX, USA, and TBS.  TBS was most often my go-to and favorite channel, and I found myself finding that network on the television dial quite a bit.  

Like many kids during that era, I was hooked on Saved by the Bell.  For quite some time, TBS would air a full hour in the evening between 5 and 6, and Growing Pains would air right afterward.  According to Wikipedia, Growing Pains was aired in reruns on TBS between 1992 and 1996.  

My parents would get home from work just before 5 most nights, and we'd often sit down to dinner shortly thereafter.  I'd kill time beforehand by watching the first episode of Saved by the Bell.  When Mom called for dinner, I'd scarf down my food and run to try to catch the end of the second episode before my parents switched on the evening news.  Some nights, especially in the summertime, they'd be busy with something else, so I'd get to keep control of the TV a little longer.

One evening in particular is etched into my mind.  Mom wasn't home and I can't remember where she was, but Dad was busy doing something around the house, so I was planted in front of the television.  It was pouring rain outside, as thunder and lightning crashed all around us.  I was busy watching Growing Pains, trying to avoid the weather.  Since we didn't have air conditioning, the windows were left open slightly, making the sounds of rain, wind, and thunder all the louder.  

I was a kid that scared pretty easily, and with Mom not home and the thunderstorm raging outside, I was pretty nervous.  I can't tell you what episode of Growing Pains was on, but it diverted my attention enough, and before long, Mom was home, the storm had subsided, and things returned to normal. 

After that episode, I began to look forward to the nightly reruns of Growing Pains.  I'll always associate this series with a thunderstorm because of that night.

I went digging through my collection of old trading cards for a fun pack to open this week, and when I saw this Wax Pack from 1988, I instantly remembered that stormy evening.  I just knew I had to open this one and scan it in for all of us to enjoy. 

Of course, I included the YesterYear traditional photo of (what's left of) the free stick of bubblegum.  It was smashed to bits in this pack, but then again, it is 35 years old.  

There's also a Kirk Cameron "What A Hunk" sticker!